A source for 531 excellent FPPs
December 14, 2013 12:53 PM   Subscribe

531 of the most interesting articles on Wikipedia covering everything from the linguistic (self-contradicting words in English) to the philosophical (The Ultimate 747 Gambit); from the only German military landing in the Americas (Weather Station Kurt) to the world's only Bigfoot Trap; to oddities both geometric (Gömböc ) and mathematical (Tupper's self-referential formula); great lists of various things (Bible errata, unsolved problems, camouflage patterns, blurred spots on Google Maps, lost art, the last monarchs of the Americas) to things that will make great band names (Orbiting Frog Otolith). [prev, shorter lists]
posted by blahblahblah (17 comments total) 153 users marked this as a favorite
the only German military landing in the Americas

Only if dropping spies and saboteurs doesn't count as military - which is nit-picky, sure, but even so....
posted by IndigoJones at 12:58 PM on December 14, 2013

A source for 531 excellent FPPs which will now all be deleted as Doubles because of this post. Thanks Oblahblahblah...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:19 PM on December 14, 2013 [5 favorites]

From the 13th article in the list, on the Blue Peacock, a British plant to install atomic bomb mines (as in the explosive weapon) in Germany in case of Soviet invasion:

One technical problem was that during winter buried objects can get very cold, and it was possible the mine's electronics would get too cold to work after some days underground. Various methods to get around this were studied, such as wrapping the bombs in insulating blankets. One particularly remarkable proposal suggested that live chickens be included in the mechanism. The chickens would be sealed inside the casing, with a supply of food and water; they would remain alive for a week or so. Their body heat would, it seems, have been sufficient to keep the mine's components at a working temperature. This proposal was sufficiently outlandish that it was taken as an April Fool's Day joke when the Blue Peacock file was declassified on April 1, 2004. Tom O'Leary, head of education and interpretation at the National Archives, replied to the media that, "It does seem like an April Fool but it most certainly is not. The Civil Service does not do jokes."[4]

Nice post. There goes my afternoon.
posted by Tsuga at 1:42 PM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is it self-linking to throw a previously on the Nazi Weather Robot?

Which only leaves 530. Not that I have anything else do on this last free weekend before the entire Christmas madness descends. Cheers!
posted by Devonian at 2:14 PM on December 14, 2013

Great, since I've pretty much devoured all the "how people have died" Wikipedia entries, now I have even more to get obsessed with.

(right now, for me, the most interesting is Idilia Dubb, which would totally be an FPP if I could just find out whether or not the entire thing is true or just a local legend or freaking what.)
posted by Katemonkey at 3:05 PM on December 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

I didn't know the Wow! Signal was a real thing that The X-Files didn't make up, but am vaguely alarmed to learn this:
In 2012, on the 35th anniversary of the Wow! signal, Arecibo Observatory beamed a response from humanity, containing 10,000 Twitter messages, in the direction from which the signal originated.
It goes on to mention "celebrity videos". Are they trying to get us obliterated by hostile ETs?
posted by cj_ at 4:31 PM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Well, there went three hours of my useful time.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:02 PM on December 14, 2013

Glad to see this making the rounds again; though it would've been classier if the blogger would've made some sort of attempt at attribution.

I actually made this list around 5 years ago to email to friends. Then I posted it to SA and to reddit (including backstory) here. Since then, I've made around 6 or 7 updates.

Last time it was on the blue, I told the story of the creation of the list in this comment, and then made a huge list of what was (to that time) the full-shebang in this comment .

Thanks again for the excitement and the kind words; and as always, I would love to hear about your suggestions for inclusions for future updates.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 6:05 PM on December 14, 2013 [25 favorites]

posted by sammyo at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2013

jjjjjjjijjjjjjj - very cool that this is your list, I didn't realize the blog link in the FPP wasn't the original. We can ask the mods to replace that link with one to your site/forum post/whatever, if you'd rather. Also, I would love to see the more up-to-date version.
posted by blahblahblah at 6:54 PM on December 14, 2013

531 links, and not one of them about 531?
posted by scruss at 7:18 PM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Category:Individual tortoises
posted by tss at 7:32 PM on December 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

Nice! I generally love any Wikipedia article about "... Incident."

What's up with Marree Man's head? It looks like he has a beak on the right side of his head. The article says he is wearing a headband and the protrusion from his head is actually his hair, which would mean the man's head is turned to our left. But if so, he appears to have no chin?
posted by pravit at 10:05 AM on December 15, 2013

Can I also say that I am highly disappointed in my parents for never telling me about the Hollywood Freeway chickens?

I mean, come on. They grew up in L.A. in the 60s/70s. I was a child in the 80s. I was kind of gullible. They managed to convince me that the sewage reclaimation plant by Cerritos was a turtle farm. My dad convinced me that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was "a little train that putts around" (at least until I rode it).

And they never told me about chickens on the freeway? Seriously?
posted by Katemonkey at 3:12 AM on December 16, 2013

I'm sure I read an SF short story based on the freeway chickens, but I can't track it down.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:23 PM on December 19, 2013

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